Sometimes trimming the bangs is needed between grooms. Rocks in particular are grateful, aren’t they Norman?
Live, love, bark! 🐾
Sometimes trimming the bangs is needed between grooms. Rocks in particular are grateful, aren’t they Norman?
Live, love, bark! 🐾
As you probably know I’m very passionate about rescues (both Norman and Elsa were rescued) so when I was recently provided an opportunity to review a new book by best-selling author, Cara Achterberg, I jumped at the chance. Yes, we’re talking about THAT Cara Achterberg, author of Another Good Dog. Squeals! Ms. Achterberg is one amazing upright who has taken dog rescue advocacy to a whole ‘nother level. Reviewing One Hundred Dogs & Counting One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles and a Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues” being released on July 7, was just something I couldn’t pass up.
For anyone not familiar with Cara, she is an award-winning writer, blogger, and consummate dog rescue champion. I was keen to review her latest book which explains the ins and outs of rescue work like nothing I’d ever read before and I learned so much about the behind-the-scenes work of rescuing and shelters. Who knew the public perception of shelters and the private reality could be so disparate?
One Hundred Dogs & Counting follows the footsteps of Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. Cara’s latest book began as a mother/son trip into the world of ‘dog pounds,’ private rescues and some of the most desperate public shelters around that most people are completely unaware. I had no idea how the world of shelters and rescues worked. With humor and deep compassion, Cara writes the book every dog lover needs to read and provides a remarkable journal how shelter dogs end up with a rescue and some of the heartbreaking details as to why some do and others don’t. This book offers hope in the face of unthinkable heartache, limited resources and long odds toward success. It also provides a narrative of hope shared by a cadry of real heroes working with limited resources in shelters and rescue groups while providing you an opportunity to help by sharing its message.
With generous praise and gratitude for her family, Operation Paws for Homes (OPA), the group with which she fosters dogs, numerous directors, rescue coordinators, Animal Control Offices and countless volunteers, Cara takes you through just what a “no-kill” shelter is. She provides a terrific resource list giving readers an opportunity to help in exposing the quiet reality of too many shelters by crafting a remarkable story with a heartfelt plea. As dog lovers and pet bloggers, it’s up to use to educate people of the all too familiar goings on in cities and towns across the country. As she puts it: let’s all work toward bringing Gandhi’s words to fruition.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.
Be sure to put this book on your summer reading list and order your copy of this remarkable rescue journey and spread its powerful message today. The Ranch Hands enthusiastically give it a 4 out of 4 paw endorsement. 🐾🐾
Live, love, bark! 🐾
Well, well, well…would you lookee here. It’s time for another Meet the Breed Monday. Norman here. What breed shall we take a gander at this month? How about the ubiquitous and beloved Golden Retriever? More than a few of our readers are Golden owners but this month’s background was supplied by our friend, Michael over at Golden Kali. Michael has three “Golden Girls” and entertains us with wonderful posts so you might want to click the link to visit his lovely blog. So let’s get started and learn about this wonderful breed.
Developed by the first Lord Tweedmouth (aka Dudley Marjoribanks) during the years 1840 through 1890, the aristocrat sought a dog suited to the rainy climate and rugged terrain of the area, so he crossed his “Yellow Retriever” with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel. Irish Setter and Bloodhound were also added to the mix during the 50 year period. Thus the Golden Retriever we now know arrived as an enduring gift to the dog kingdom from a hunt-happy aristocrat.
The Golden, as affectionately known everywhere, was first shown at a British dog show in 1908. The breed began arriving in America, by way of Canada, around the same time. Sport hunters liked the breed’s utility while show breeders loved their beauty and are impressed by their sweet, sensible temperament. Males generally weigh between 65-75 lbs. while females are somewhat smaller at 55-65 lbs.
There are three main types of Golden Retrievers.
Goldens are very versatile. While often known as bird dogs, they make excellent family members. Goldens are frequently used as service dogs for the disabled, search and rescue dogs and are even tempered, intelligent, and very affectionate. They love to play and will retrieve balls as long and as often as someone will throw it for them.
We got ourselves another ‘foodie’ with this breed. The only thing Goldens love more than playing and romping is food. Being food motivated, Goldens are quite eager to please their owners thereby making them easily trainable and highly adaptive to most home environments.
Goldens do need lots of exercise, especially puppies and younger dogs. A good 30 to 40 minute walk each day in addition to playtime and training will make for a content dog who is then less likely to get themselves into mischief.
Goldens are gentle with children, puppies and get along with just about everyone they meet. Goldens are not typically considered guard dogs but will bark to alert owners of trouble, or perceived trouble. They are more likely to show a burglar where the family jewels are hidden than to attack.
The Golden Retriever’s life expectancy is typically 11 to 12 years and sadly, more than 60% of the breed succumb to cancer. Hip dysplasia is another common medical problems Goldens face.
Golden retrievers shed and require regular brushing. Like all dogs shedding dogs, regular grooming helps minimize floating hair and mats.
Goldens are one of the more popular breeds in the U.S. Did you know that two Goldens occupied the White House-Gerald Ford’s dog, Liberty and Victory whose human was Ronald Reagan. More recently, Elizabeth Warren’s Golden “Bailey,” was a frequent visitor to her campaign events, and was caught on camera swiping a burrito from a staffer’s hand. Like I said, these dogs are definitely ‘foodies.’ While “Daniel,” the 2020 Westminster Dog Show audience favorite did not win Best in Show, he did win the Sporting Group. Goldens continue to be popular crowd pleasers and are regularly featured pets in commercials and movies.
Well there you have it. Many thanks to Michael for sharing background info on these great family dogs. Do you have any experience with these ‘golden’ beauties? Check back next month for another breed. If you’d like your good dog’s breed highlighted, please shoot us an email.
Our recent conspicuous absence has been the result of a life-threatening emergency. While I’ve not commented on your posts, be assured I am doing my best to keep up with what’s going on in your world in between moments of waiting and wondering at the outcome of this emergency.
You may be wondering what happened? In a truly cruel twist of irony, on the third month anniversary of Sam’s crossing the Bridge, last week Norman suffered a gastric dilation and volvulus event, an ominous medical syndrome known as GDV. Commonly referred to as gastric torsion or bloat, this horrific condition occurs when the stomach dilates, then rotates or twists around the short axis cutting off blood supply to vital organs. My previous Standard Poodle before Sam, McKenzie, died from bloat so I’m sadly all too familiar with the symptoms and heartbreak. Gastric rotation includes progressive distension of the stomach in the form of gas and increased pressure within the abdomen, resulting in damage to the cardiovascular system, with decreased perfusion (the process of delivering nutrients via blood in the arteries to the body’s tissues) which can lead to cellular damage and organ death. Quick emergency action is required whenever GDV strikes-to delay can be life-threatening.
What exactly are the symptoms of GDV? According to PetMD, symptoms of GDV syndrome are: “anxious behavior, depression, abdominal pain and/or distention, collapse, excessive drooling, and vomiting to the point of unproductive dry heaving.” Upon physical examination, rapid heart beat (tachycardia), labored breathing (dyspnea), weak pulse and pale mucus membranes of the nose and mouth often accompany the other symptoms.
While the exact causes of GDV remain unknown, there are general factors that likely increase the risk, including genetics, anatomy, and environment. Highest at-risk dogs are large and giant breeds, particularly those with deep-chests breeds such as Great Danes, German Shepherds, and Standard Poodles (with high rates of mortality). Other factors contributing to the development of GDV include ingestion of excessive amounts of food or water, delayed emptying of the gastrointestinal system, and too much activity following meals.
GDV must be treated through surgical intervention with the untwisting of the stomach which is then tacked to the body wall to prevent it from twisting again (known as “gastropexy”). The vet expressed some concern the spleen may also have been impacted but he did not see any damage in Norman’s case, despite a 180º degree twist and internal stomach bruising. While dogs can survive without a spleen, potential heart damage through the lack of blood flow may complicate recovery.
For those of you who may be squeamish, you may want to scroll down before viewing this stem-to-stern incision. I’ve assured Norman that ‘chicks dig scars’ so he isn’t feeling too self conscience about it.
Because of the COVID-19 lockdown, I was not permitted to visit Norman following his surgery but received frequent phone updates for the first two days (ok, it was me that pestered them all hours of the day and night) but they understood my concern and took my
hourly relentless calls with kindness, patience and caring. He survived the surgery; the vet thought there was no lasting damage to the spleen or any apparent heart damage based on his visible examination of the organs during the surgery which gave me hope but the next few days would be touch and go. With that large belly incision, it’s clearly apparent this was a very serious surgical intervention. And understandably, he refused to eat after coming out of anesthesia. Norman never passes an opportunity for a meal so I knew he was in some serious pain. The staff finally allowed me to take him for a very brief few steps on a potty break outside late Saturday evening. It was hoped my presence might encourage him to eat a few bites. With traces of anesthesia still in his system, he was somewhat confused, heavy-footed and wobbly. He finally ate a few bites Saturday night and was deemed sufficiently dischargeable late the next afternoon.
Again in another irony, on the one day of the year when it rained buckets around here in otherwise dry Denver, I was able to bring the big guy home to nurse and pamper following extensive post-op instructions. He’s taken well to the pampering and promptly became a food critic…refusing to eat the bland diet of rice and chicken prescribed. If rice even touched the chicken, he refused eating it. After consulting with the ER staff, they agreed small, frequent meals of plain chicken without rice was better than nothing. As a long time vegetarian, it was beyond surreal having packages of deboned, skinless chicken breasts in my kitchen. For years, I’ve said I’d eat beef before I ever ate chicken again, the mere smell of it makes me nauseous. But nursing this sweet boy back to wellness was far more important than any olfactory discomfort on my part so I held my nose, cooked, and chopped the chicken into small pieces for him. As of today his appetite has mostly returned, with him enjoying frequent but small meals throughout the day.
The dreaded e-collar has vexed Norman as he continues to improve. Sheepdogs have a bear-like shuffle and often their heads sway back and forth in rhythm as they move. With the cone on, it crashes into furniture, walls, doorways, and the back of my knees with painful regularity. With encouragement and patience, he is beginning to gain the necessary confidence to navigate better with it on every day.
I would be most remiss if I didn’t mention the one person in particular helped me throughout this whole nightmare and she knows who she is. This dearest of friends has consistently been my rock and pillar over the years and I am once again deeply indebted to her generosity, love and kindness. Thank you, my friend and thanks in advance to everyone for their support while Norman recoups. It means the world to me. With emotions still raw from the loss of dear Sam, this latest calamity has once again shocked me to the core. It’s been days since I’ve had a decent night’s sleep but will be fine once Norman makes it out of the woods and gratefully accept your well wishes and POTP prayers. With your healing energy thoughts and Elsa’s oversight of his care, I expect him to fully recover and look forward to those smile inducing butt wiggles to rule our days once again.
Yes, life is full of cruel ironies especially in the midst of a pandemic, but this was one that was an even more unexpectedly cruel. As its image in life’s rear view mirror becomes smaller, we move forward. Besides, Norman thinks there’s a new toy that requires some serious attention without the conflangled wrangling with an e-collar that simultaneously gets bad reception and interferes with fun.
Live, love, bark! 🐾
It’s time for our monthly column “Meet the Breed.” It’s me, Elsa, stepping up again this month ready to feature our latest installment of “Meet the Breed.” So without further delay, let’s meet…the Shetland Sheepdog, more commonly known as “Shelties.”
When mom first started blogging, she became a follower and then friend with Dakota and his mom, Caren Gittleman who was especially helpful in showing her the ropes. Caren suggested loads of tips and tricks that would develop a readership for which she will always be grateful. And Caren was very inspiring to mom when she launched the e-shop. And she has one of the cutest guys in Blogville. I mean, just look at this handsome boy…hubba bubba, dude!
Dakota’s mom, is a free-lance professional blogger who writes blogs Dakota’s Den (about her cute boy) and Cat Chat With Caren and Cody (a blog about cats) residing in Michigan with her husband, Sheltie Dakota and Cody the cat. While Caren isn’t blogging as much these days, she’s a powerhouse and accomplished blogger in mom’s eyes with Dakota, her beautiful and sweet Sheltie and his fur-brother, Cody the cat. Many thanks to Caren for providing breed background info on these adorably cute dogs.
Now pay attention, Norman and let’s get started by meeting this adorable breed. Often confused with the larger ‘Collie,’ The Shetland Sheepdog, or “Sheltie,” is actually NOT a “mini-Collie” as some people think, they are in fact a completely separate breed.
Shelties were originally bred on the rocky Shetland Islands, on the northernmost point of the UK. They were employed by farmers to herd sheep, ponies, and poultry (the “Toonie dog” was an old slang name for Shelties, “toon” being a Shetland word for farm). Shelties’ long coat is harsh and straight, with a dense undercoat, and comes in black, blue merle, and sable colors, with white markings. That coat, along with a long, wedge-shaped head; small, three-quarter erect ears; and deep-chested, level-backed torso, give Shelties the look of a rough-coated Collie in miniature but there are significant differences. Shelties weigh about between 14-27 lbs.while Collies weigh 60-75 lbs. Shelties can be prone to chubbiness, so their weight should be closely watched. There are height differences between the breeds as well: Shelties run 13-16 inches tall; Collies are between 24-26 inches tall.
Shelties do quite well in a large yard but also thrive nicely in an apartment or condo setting because of their much smaller size. Shelties are “alert, active and playful” and like to bark but tend to be reserved toward strangers. They make excellent watchdogs. Shelties will alert the household when strangers show up. Shelties are high-energy and rank 25th of 195 breeds in popularity according to the AKC and are members of the herding group.
“Dakota” recently celebrated his 13th barkday and is a brilliant, funny little clown on four legs. His mom tells us that he is a bit of a “thief” (watch your shoes, slippers, anything you don’t want him to have), is sensitive and intensely loyal to “his pack,” which includes mom, dad and tabby cat brother.
That trademark “Sheltie Smile” is quite compelling so if you are interested in an intelligent, active, playful, great family dog who will love you “to the moon and back” then the Shetland Sheepdog could be just the breed for you.
Have you ever owned one or have stories to share? Next month we’ll showcase another breed. Who could it be? While I’m not giving any clues away, Norman tells me it’s definitely another favorite breed. We hope all you dog-moms had a Happy Mother’s Day and wish everyone a great Monday and ‘wagnificent’ week.
We hope you had a great weekend. I don’t know about you, but suspect like me, you’ve been gravitating toward ‘feel good’ stories and smile inducing social media. If this 2018 America’s Got Talent entry doesn’t make you smile, then you’re either related to the notoriously famous sour-puss Simon Cowell or more likely, you have no pulse. Happy first day of the week. Keep smiling. With loads of shout outs to singing pooches everywhere, I present Oscar.
Live, love, bark 🐾
We’ve been a bit derelict in putting this post together and apologize for the lateness. First we couldn’t decide who should be next after Norman introduced this series last month and then I couldn’t get him to focus on picking someone from the submissions we received. He kept thinking treats were wrapped up in the entries. Ugh, brothers! Elsa here ready to share this month’s installment of “Meet the Breed.” So without further delay, let’s meet…drumroll please…Schnauzers, Miniature Schnauzers to be precise.
Did you know there are three different breeds of Schnauzers: miniature, standard and giant and each one is considered a separate breed. Our good friend, Princess Xena (click on link to visit her blog) provided much of the 411 for this post. She told us that miniatures range in size from 10 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 10 to 18 pounds. A word to the wise from our Miniature Schnauzer expert: if you’re interesting in this breed, don’t fall for breeders who say they have teacup or toy schnauzers, it’s a distortion of the breed. Schnauzers should be uniform in size; that is the same length from neck to base of tail as they are in height (Xena is 13×13).
According to the AKC, Miniature Schnauzers were bred down from their larger German cousins, Standard Schnauzers. The bushy beard and eyebrows give them a charming expression. They come in four color patterns: salt and pepper, black and silver, solid black and solid white. They were bred to be medium sized farm dogs in Germany, equally suited to ratting, herding and guarding property. The first recorded Miniature Schnauzer appeared in 1888 and they are a member of the Terrier group.
With their working days behind them, today’s Miniature Schnauzer is best known as a friendly, charming companion who continues to be a steady winner in all sorts of competitions.
Miniature Schnauzers are sturdy, clever dogs and enjoy vigorous play. Home and family oriented, they still make great watchdogs and alert their family of any trespassers. Xena says you have to be pretty smart to live with a Miniature Schnauzer or they will outwit you every time. Miniature Schnauzer’s have a strong desire to be with their people and need lots of interaction. They don’t like being left alone and can become bored, inventing their own “fun.” They are active, smart and will happily accompany their uprights on walks or runs. They do equally well in small apartments or on the farm.
We hope you learned a little about these adorably cute dogs. Have you owned one or have stories to share? Next month we’ll showcase another breed. Who could it be? While I’m not giving any clues away, it’s probably someone else from the Blogville community. Just saying. Happy Monday!
Yawn…please don’t tell me it’s Monday already. Ugh. Think I need a spot of a groom to deal with this bedhead look.
This is no way to usher in a new week. Any chance they make Sheepdog mousse? It’s bad enough that it’s snowing again, but to look this bad on top of it…argh!
Live, love, bark! 🐾
Seeing something like this first thing in the morning will wake you up real quick! Happy Monday. Here’s hoping you can keep the tigers at bay.
Live, love, bark! 🐾
OMD, Monday again? And an hour earlier on top of that? What the double dog heck? Yes, it’s that time of year again where we ‘spring forward’ and try to convince ourselves all is just groovy. The fact that it’s oh-dark-thirty in the morning gets fluffed over.
Hate to burst your bubble, Copernicus…but you still only get the same 24 hours a day. I know a lot of you like the time switch but I’m here to tell you you’re only fooling yourself if you think there’s an extra hour of sunlight. That said, those of you who like it, be my guest and enjoy. Those of us who think it’s the dumbest manipulation of time will grouse about it until our Circadian rhythms finally sync with the clock. Sometime in August if I’m lucky.
But enough of the ranting. Let’s move on to something different. Today we’re launching a new monthly feature, “Meet the Breed.” Elsa suggested it at our last editors’ meeting and the other half of the Old Couple, Brother Norman was on board once I asked him to introduce us to his tribe, the Old English Sheepdog. Take it away, Norman.
Thanks, mum. As you probably know, I’m an Old English Sheepdog who arrived at the Ranch a little over a month ago after living in southwest Kansas. Mum may have fussed about DST but I’m quite ‘chuffed to the mitt’ about it because it means I can spend more awake time with my mum. Let’s just say I can get started earlier engaging in one of my favorite pastimes. Anyway, let’s take a look at my people.
We are an affable bunch, us Sheepies. Some think we’re the canine comedians of the dog world. George Carlin aside, from where did we come?
Lush meadows, thatch-roofed cottages with wooded gorges from bonnie ole England are thought to be where we originated. ‘Course our origins are nearly as clouded as the mist-encircled, rugged valleys where we herded and/or drove sheep. Some historical paintings show sheepdogs being depicted as early as the late 1700’s but most breed authorities agree farmers in the counties of Devon, Somerset and the duchy of Cornwall in southwest England used a dog that resembled what we look like today. We weren’t bred for a specific purpose but were the result of a natural evolution of available breeding stock. Prized herding dogs were selected for breeding based on their ability to handle themselves well with the area’s rather rugged livestock that flourished in the craggy climate.
It’s been suggested we received the nickname Bobtail when farmers and the gentry devised a way to avoid paying taxes on us working blokes and docked our tails to prove the tax status. Drover dogs were exempt from being taxed due to their working status and tails were docked.There is some dispute with that notion however. Dogs with long tails tend to use them for balance and since we didn’t chase game, we didn’t need a long tail since there was no need for it when herding. Then again it could have been merely hygienic-there being less chance of ‘fouling’ the tail, if you get my drift. Bobtails are far more common in the US as England and Europe have generally abolished tail docking. Either way, with my handsome tube sock legs, who needs to draw attention to a useless tail? I can wiggle my bum with the best of ’em.
No longer a breed for the wealthy or for farmers, us OES are big, furry, intelligent and even-tempered. We’re easily trained (but don’t tell my mum that; I rather enjoy all the treats she uses on training sessions and wouldn’t want them to be reduced). We are not an aggressive breed and typically get on well with other pets. We enjoy playful companionship. Playful being the operative word, Elsa. Just saying.
Sheepdogs are not for everyone though. If you’re not prepared to spend a fair amount of time brushing and grooming us, you should probably choose a breed that doesn’t require as much time maintaining our woolly, profuse coats. We have hair (as opposed to fur) and as such do not ‘shed’ per se, but keep that full coat all year long (although hair does fall out so if you’re fussy about dust bunnies we may not be right for you). We adore people, especially the wee little ones and are often called the “Nanny” dog for good reason.
A couple of drawbacks to
being owned by an OES owning a sheepdog is we tend to be a tad messy when it comes to drinking water (and we drink a LOT of water). Water collects in our beards so naturally that’s when we want to give you lots of attention, right after a good H2O quaff. Our manners aren’t quite as impeccable as our British heritage might suggest and we’ll always have stained beards unless you’re constantly grooming and cleaning us up.
We also tend to suffer from ‘unbridled’ enthusiasm. Remember, we’re not purse-sized dogs so we often bump into people’s legs because we’re natural herders and can easily knock over any unsteady uprights. In Britain when we say “mind the gap” it means look out where you’re going and that applies to us sheepies. We don’t mean anything nefarious by bumping into you, we are after all, herders. We’re jovial and have astute reckoning powers. You will not win many battle of wits with us sheepdogs because we’re terrific problem-solvers and get easily bored with rote exercises/routines. Because we’re natural athletes, we make great agility competitors. Just remember bored dogs can make life insufferable, no matter what the breed.
Since an OES can easily reach more than 80 lbs. (36 kg), we can take up a fair amount of real estate. We do not curl up into little balls, preferring to stretch out.
We sheepies have what’s referred to as a bark with a Pot-Casse ring, a particularly deep, booming (almost echoing) bark. Pot-Casse is French for “broken urn” or “cracked bell.” Which means our bark sounds like a couple of pots clanging together. It is the signature bark of sheepies so however you translate it, it’s going to be deafening. Mum says with my size, I should have a rich baritone voice but instead sound more like a puny tenor. Ha, ha, mum-you crack me up. Either way, she says it’s very loud at oh-dark o’clock when it’s the best way for waking her up.
Sheepdogs don’t like being separated from their family and can raise the dead with their barking. I think that’s what got me and my previous sister in trouble with the neighbors (Libby, the Weimaraner who still appears to be available for adoption here if you’re interested in rescuing her). She needs a loving family and I feel badly she hasn’t been adopted yet and hope she finds a home as nice as the one I found. Even with Elsa sometimes picking on me, I remain a proper British gentleman in spite of her shenanigans, my life is quite “tickety-boo” around the Ranch. A comfy sofa, tasty food/treats, multiple water bowls, frequent walks, a good “chin wag” with everyone I meet-how could it not be fab?
So “Bob’s your uncle” and now I’m kind of knackered after sharing all that info. I should probably go catch a few 💤 before
dragging mum around the neighborhood again my next walk. Us sheepies are a lively bunch but we give loads of love. Hope you enjoyed meeting my breed.
If you’d like your breed featured, contact my mum in an email with a photo and some interesting facts. Elsa and I will pick next month’s next “Meet the Breed” post. Cheerio, mates.
Live, love, bark! 🐾